March 3, 2008, 12:00 AM

Social networkers turn into social sellers

BSocial Networks has launched Market Lodge, a system designed for Facebook that enables the social network’s users to create miniature e-commerce stores on their Facebook pages. Facebook users get a 10% commission for every product they sell.

Shoppers with Facebook pages have been, among many other things, evangelizing about the latest products and talking trends with friends. Now with the help of a new social computing application they can not only talk but sell.

BSocial Networks Inc. has launched Market Lodge, a system designed for Facebook that enables the social network’s users to create miniature e-commerce stores on their Facebook pages. Market Lodge allows Facebook users to select from 1,100 products from 50 retailers items to sell in their own shops.

Facebook users get a 10% commission for every product they sell (deposited in personal PayPal accounts), bSocial Networks gets a 35% to 50% commission, and retailers get an outlet to sell products to the 70 million consumers on Facebook without having to advertise, says Sue Spielman, bSocial Networks co-founder.

Facebook offers users a wide variety of applications to add to their pages. To set up shop, users select Market Lodge from the list of applications; the application then is automatically integrated in the Facebook users’ pages. Users set up an account with Market Lodge and then design and manage their store via a dashboard. The process of setting up an account and doing an initial store design can take as little as five minutes, the company says.

New storekeepers browse the products offered by retailers affiliated with bSocial and add items one by one to their individual shops. They then promote their shops to their Facebook friends using standard Facebook communication tools. BSocial handles order management and retailers handle inventory and fulfillment.

“This is a consumer-to-consumer business platform that lets anyone in the social network create a personalized marketplace that reflects their hobbies and interests,” Spielman says. “And when social networkers share their Market Lodge, they share with all of their friends in a setting of social trust, a social bond.”

BSocial Networks plans to expand its initial offering of 1,100 products to thousands of products. Current retailers include Aurora Nova Skin Care, Holistic Pet, Inner Waves Organics, Oona Sara Designs and White Swan. The company also plans to expand its Market Lodge offering, initially created using the Facebook application program interface, to other social networks.

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